Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bill offered In New Jersey To Allow Web Gambling

LM Comment: We seem to be seeing more and more of these. VLTs started out this same way in the early 1990’s.

January 20, 2010: summarized from Casino Journal -- A bill has been introduced in the New Jersey Legislature that would allow Atlantic City’s casinos to offer Internet gambling to state residents.

“There are probably 500,000 online poker players in New Jersey alone. And we’re missing out on around $100 million in revenue,” Union County Democratic Sen. Raymond Lesniak, the bill’s sponsor, told The Press of Atlantic City.

Gambling online, with some exceptions in the pari-mutuel sector, is illegal in the United States. In 2006, U.S banks were ordered to block their credit and debit cards from carrying payments to online gambling companies. But Lesniak says a recent federal court ruling would permit intrastate operations. “We would restrict the games to New Jersey residents,” he said. “And I believe that would satisfy that ruling.”

The bill also would allow Web gambling terminals at racetracks in the state, similar to casino slot machines.

In the meantime, Democratic Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who chairs the powerful Financial Services Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, along with fellow Democrat Jim McDermott of Washington state, have introduced legislation that would establish a federal-state framework for regulating and taxing the industry, which proponents say would generate tens of billions of dollars in revenues for government.

Lesniak’s proposal would authorize an annual tax of 20 percent on gross revenues from Internet wagering, 12 percent more than the casinos pay on their land-based games. State Sen. Jim Whelan said he suggested the higher tax as a way to counter the possibility of Internet gaming weakening the customer base for the casinos.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/ckfBtN

Loyalty Programs Dole Out Rewards But Fail To Fully Connect With Consumers Says New CMO Council Study

January 25, 2010: summarized from Market Wire -- As more marketers turn to loyalty and rewards programs to spark business growth, a new report from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council report indicates that marketers are under-valuing these often costly programs even as customers give the perks, discounts, deals and additional service opportunities high marks. Both customers and marketers agree: deeper engagement and personalized contact drives loyalty, not mass blast communications and gimmicks.

Most marketers (61 percent) believe that loyalty program participants are the best and most profitable customers. So it is not surprising that an almost equal number of respondents (65 percent) view customer loyalty program investments as a very essential, or a quite valuable part of the marketing mix. Unfortunately, only 13 percent of respondents believe they have been highly effective in leveraging loyalty and brand preference among club members, and nearly 20 percent don't even have a strategy for this. Another 25 percent admit they have not mobilized brand loyalists to become active advocacy agents, either.

The study also reveals that marketers are mostly inducing loyalty with discounts or free products and premiums rather than quicker, better service or improved customer handling. Some 39 percent of respondents view discounts and savings as the key member benefits, 34 percent view free products and premiums as essential incentives, while 33 percent are committed to offering points for merchandise redemption as a further motivator.

When asked to outline typical customer complaints about loyalty programs, nearly 30 percent of marketers report that some customers see little or no added value to becoming a loyalty member; 24 percent indicate rewards lack substance; a similar percentage feel they don't get enough personalized attention; and 21 percent have problems with receiving too much spam email and junk mail. Customer complaints also touch on a lack of individualized communication (23 percent) and issues with redeeming points and miles (18 percent).

Online channels dominate expected investments as nearly 60 percent of respondents said they planned to make better use of the Web and new community and networking tools to grow and develop loyalty programs.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/9cBj23

Baby Boomers Get Connected with Social Media

January 28, 2010: summarized from eMarketer -- Baby boomers have always been good communicators, as evidenced by their presence at sit-ins, protests, demonstrations and “happenings” in the 1960s. So it was inevitable that boomers would check out social media sites.

“Creating and renewing personal connections online is the biggest draw for these boomers,” said Lisa E. Phillips, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, “Boomers and Social Media.” “About 47% of online boomers maintain a profile on at least one social network, according to several sources. Their contacts include family, friends and co-workers of all ages.”

Burst Media reported that 47.5% of online boomer respondents had a social network profile in June 2009. In September of that year, Deloitte found 46% of boomer respondents said they maintained a social network profile—an important difference from simply creating one and forgetting about it.

Boomers’ social network presence has grown steadily since Deloitte’s 2007 survey, when only 30% said they maintained a profile on a social network. In that period, millennials’ use of social profiles remained fairly steady—and heavily penetrated—at 71% in 2007 and 77% in 2009.

Facebook is the favorite social network for boomers, as both comScore and Anderson Analytics data show.

“Boomers expect that technology will help them live longer and better lives and keep them connected to family, friends, co-workers and, eventually, healthcare providers,” said Ms. Phillips. “To fulfill these expectations, boomers are turning to social media, where they keep up their offline social connections and make new ones. Online marketing messages that help them build on their connections—and foster other online relationships—will get their interest.”

Read more at: http://bit.ly/aCJYDU

Starting Today, Facebook Apps Can Ask You To Hand Over Your Email Address

January 20, 2010: summarized from TechCrunch -- Big changes are coming to Facebook Platform. Today, Facebook is granting developers on Platform the ability to request (or require) users to hand over their email addresses so they they can send periodic messages directly to users. This doesn’t come as a surprise: Facebook first talked about these changes last October and has kept developers updated on the timing in its Developer Roadmap. But it’s a very, very big deal.

Before now, Facebook applications have used the notifications window (that slide up panel in the bottom right hand side of the screen) to engage users on a long term basis. Facebook is deprecating that functionality in the next thirty days. Now, developers will no longer be reliant on Facebook to serve as the gatekeeper for their communication with users (in other words, Facebook no longer “owns” the relationship with users). But this may not be good news to all developers.

When developers send a message to users through Facebook’s notifications window, there is really no way for the user to miss it: the notification icon gets a bright red badge, and your last few messages are displayed whenever you click on the icon (so if you initially miss one message, you’ll still see it a few days later). With Email, there’s no such urgency. Many people are already overwhelmed by the amount of Email they receive, so these messages could get lost in the shuffle. On the plus side for developers, they’ll no longer have to worry about Facebook’s messaging quotas (at least unless they get reported as spam).

To collect Email addresses, developers will prompt users through an extended permission box. Developers can mandate handing this information as part of the app installation process. Facebook users who are concerned about spam can elect to only share a proxied Email address, similar to the ones you can get on Craigslist.

Facebook says that LivingSocial has offered Email notifications for its Visual Bookshelf application for years, and that they drive 10% of the application’s traffic, with a high click-through rates of 5-12%.

Read more at: http://tcrn.ch/bHIydm

Scientific Games, Playtech To Develop Online Games

January 21, 2010: summarized from ABC News -- Scientific Games Corp., a maker of video lottery terminals and other gaming systems, said Thursday it's joining forces with gaming software developer Playtech Ltd. to develop new products.

The two companies will form a joint venture called Sciplay, which will focus on the online market for government-regulated lottery and gaming. The online games will include poker, instant games, sports and others.

"We anticipate that Internet (and associated multimedia distribution) will be the next large wave of growth in gaming," said Mike Chambrello, CEO of Scientific Games.

Richard Weil will be the managing director of Sciplay. He formerly was president of Fun Technologies, an online games company. Weil also has been vice president of international sales at Scientific Games.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/dsBGAO